By Victor Thorn
Even the high-profile arrest of film star Daryl Hannah in front of the White House on August 30 didn’t adequately cast a light on a potentially disastrous eminent domain and environmental problems soon to face those living in America’s prime farming country. Specifically, if constructed, the proposed Keystone XL pipeline will stretch from Alberta through the upper Midwest to Oklahoma, whereupon phase II will then extend—like an oil-coursing jugular—through America’s heartland to the Texas gulf.
Although Ms. Hannah protested United States dependence on oil and touted the need for cleaner energy investments, her aims—albeit noble—were somewhat misdirected and naïve. She correctly pointed out during an August 31 television interview that the Trans-Canada pipeline has already suffered 12 spills in a mere 12 months and that it will pierce America’s largest freshwater aquifer, which 20 million people depend on. However, Ms. Hannah and other activists failed to identify the true motives behind this sinister undertaking.
In a September 2 article for IPS News entitled “U.S. Awash in Oil and Lies, Report Charges” Stephen Leahy wrote, “The only reason U.S. citizens may be forced to endure a risky, Canadian-owned oil pipeline called Keystone XL is so oil companies with billion-dollar profits can get the dirty oil from Canada’s tar sands down to the Gulf of Mexico to export to Europe, Latin America or Asia.”
In other words, oil companies have not only domestic aims for this thick, tarry substance known as bitumen, without doubt considered the world’s dirtiest oil, they also plan on shipping it to energy greedy nations such as China. Tragically, with what we now know about the BP oil spill, a proposed venture that could contaminate our nation’s most precious water aquifer with toxic sludge must be considered with the utmost care.
Even more disturbingly, Barack Obama, once characterized as the “green president,” may well be envisioning the use of taxpayer money to construct this pipeline as part of his infrastructure jobs program.
On July 26, Representative Lee Terry (R-Neb.) introduced H.R. 1938 that would expedite a White House review of the Keystone XL pipeline in order for officials to arrive at a decision by November 1.
In response, grassroots environmentalists are placing increased pressure squarely on Obama’s doorstep. One-time supporters such as Danielle Droitsch of the Natural Resources Defense Council framed the matter in succinct terms. If Obama gives the nod to this pipeline, Ms. Droitsch’s devotees feel it will leave a “dirty legacy” on his entire presidency.
Victor Thorn is a hard-hitting researcher, journalist and author of over 50 books.